Californians are lucky to enjoy one the sweetest, juiciest berries on earth -- the strawberry, thanks in a large part because of the climate. While strawberry festivals bring attention to the crop, you can enjoy eating these delicious, red fruits available fresh in many markets and places such as Costco.
California's 12-month growing season contributes to higher strawberry yields per
acre than any other growing area. Other areas of the country have shorter
production cycles, from an average of five-months to as short as a few weeks.
Of all the California strawberries produced each year, approximately 75 percent are harvested for the fresh market, while about 25 percent are frozen for the processed market. Approximately 16.3 percent of the fresh California strawberry crop is annually exported. Canada, Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong are the largest importers of California strawberries. Canada receives the majority of California's fresh and frozen exports.
California's strawberry-producing regions extend 500 miles from San Diego to San Francisco. The earliest strawberries are from three southern California counties--San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles. Harvest is from January through May, with fresh-market shipments usually peaking in April. The Oxnard area, located in Ventura County just north of Los Angeles, provides fresh strawberries from January until June, with deliveries to processors from April to July. In the Santa Maria area, north of Oxnard, picking usually starts in late February and lasts through November. Fresh-market strawberry shipments from Santa Maria usually peak in May, while deliveries to processors are largest during March and April.
California's northernmost strawberry-growing region is south of San Francisco and includes Watsonville and Salinas in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties and some acreage in Santa Clara, San Benito, and Fresno Counties. Shipments from northern areas begin in April, peak in May or June, and continue through November. Deliveries to processors begin in April, but end before the last fresh strawberry shipments.
Most northern California strawberries are fresh marketed. Deliveries to processors accounted for more of the other areas' output: nearly 30 percent of shipments from Santa Maria, 44 percent from Oxnard, and 60 percent from the southernmost counties.
California is the nation's leading producer of strawberries. In 2010, more than 2 billion pounds of strawberries were harvested. That amounts to 88 percent of the country's total fresh and frozen strawberries. California's unique coastal environment with its western ocean exposure provides moderate temperatures year round. Warm sunny days and cool foggy nights are the perfect combination for growing strawberries.
The value of the California strawberry crop is approximately $2.1 billion. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, strawberries are the sixth most valuable fruit crop produced in California.
Types of Strawberries
Large fruit with flavor and color that is exceptional on this vigorous, southern variety.
Fruit is firm, but generally has a dry, bland flavor.
A hardy, medium sized fruit with a sweet flavor.
Sweet, medium sized fruit and very red
Sweet and small strawberry.
Fruit color and flavor tend to be variable.
Fruit is very firm and large, with deep red color but tend to vary in sweetness and flavor intensity.
This fruit is fairly large and has a deep red exterior and interior with a superior flavor.
A large, firm fruit and great flavor with a bright red sheen.
Bright red fruit with good flavor, shape and fruit size.
Firm, dark red fruit with a very good flavor.
Sweet and juicy strawberry and also very hardy.
Strawberry Muddle Cocktail
2 large or 3 small fresh California strawberries, stemmed
1/2-1 tablespoon simple syrup
2 slices lemon
6 ounces prosecco
In a glass, muddle strawberries to a fine pulp. Add simple syrup to taste. Place lemon slices on top of strawberries and punch out the centers, leaving rinds in glass. Gently pour in prosecco; do not stir. Layer top of glass with ice; garnish with mint.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 178 calories; 0 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 1 mg sodium; 14 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; g protein
STRAWBERRY FIELDS WHERE YOU CAN PICK BERRIES
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY
Strawberries April - August
- Dwelley Farms
- Tachella Family Farms
- McCauley Brothers Olive Groves
- The Stand at Knightsen
- Smith Family Farm / Pumpkin Patch
- Berry Best
- Chan's Fruit Stand
- Enos Family Farms
- Pompei Nursery
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY
Saevang Strawberry Farm - Uses integrated pest management practices, strawberries,
Corner Of highway 88 And Brandt Road, Lockeford, CA 95237. Phone: 916-712-2831. Email: email@example.com. Open: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday 7am to 6pm. Directions: Click here for a map and directions. Strawberry season, both the strawberry stand and U-pick field will be open from April 15 to July.
SAN MATEO COUNTY
Coastways Ranch Inc (aka Swanton Berry Farm) - Certified Organic, blackberries, olallieberries, strawberries, restrooms, picnic area, school tours
640 Cabrillo Highway ( Highway 1), Pescadero, CA 94060. Phone: 831-469-8804. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open: Strawberries and Olallieberries begin in June;swantonberryfarm.com all organic
Each Spring and Summer they typically have two types of "u-pick" berries: Strawberries and Olallieberries. All berries are hand-planted and no pesticides are ever used. The strawberry and olallieberry jams sold in the Country Store are made with these same berries and made on premises.
Phipps Ranch - Strawberries, Olallieberries
2700 Pescadero Road, Pescadero, CA. Phone: 650-879-0787. Strawberries are ripe and ready for picking
STRAWBERRIES are ripe and ready for picking from around late April or mid May through the end of September, depending on seasonal weather patterns. Entrance fee Infants/Toddlers to 4 yrs of age: FREE
5 years to 59 yrs of age: $3.00
Seniors: 60 yrs and up: FREE
$3 pound berries
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
Crystal Bay Farm - Certified Organic, olallieberries, raspberries (red), raspberries (yellow), strawberries, tayberries, picnic area, farm animals, birthday parties, school tours
40 Zils Road, Watsonvillle, CA 95076. Phone: (831) 724-4137. Email: email@example.com. Open: Please call ahead for u - pick. Directions: From Highway 1 take the the San Andreas / Larken Valley exit to San Andreas road, drive 4.5 miles to Zils road We are at the corner of San Andreas and Zils Road. Click here for a map and directions. We are certified organic for all crops!
Gizdich Ranch - apples, blackberries, boysenberries, olallieberries, strawberries, Cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises), U-pick and already picked, gift shop, concessions / refreshment stand, porta-potties, restrooms, picnic area, school tours
55 Peckham Road, Watsonville, CA 95076. Phone: 831-722-1056. Fax: 831-722-2458. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Open: Daily 8am to 5pm, May 1 through July 31
All Gizdich berries are grown, harvested and packed at our ranch and nowhere else. Call Us to reserve a flat of berries. We offer frozen berries all year long for your Baking and canning needs. Give fresh strawberries to someone and watch them smile!
Love Farms Organic Produce lovefarms.com - Certified Organic strawberries refreshment stand, restrooms, picnic area, farm animals, school tours,
15069 Grove Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448. Phone: 707-433-1230. Alternate Phone: 707 433-6274. Email: email@example.com. Open: April to November 9 am to 5 pm. Directions: Click here for a map and directions. Picking updates: Click here for picking updates. Click here for current open hours, days and dates. We are certified organic for all crops!
Senk Farms - strawberries, PYO and already picked senkfarms.com
1369 Keiser Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Phone: 707-585-8811. Email: Cindy @senkfarms.com. Open: PYO strawberries thru September on Wednesdays & Saturdays, from Noon to 5 pm; the farm stand with already picked strawberries is open daily. Directions: Located between Petaluma Hill Road and Snyder Lane, half mile north of Rohnert Park Expressway. Just outside Rohnert Park city limits
Pacific Star Gardens WWW.FREEWEBS.COM/pacificstargardens/ apricots, blackberries, flowers, marionberries, olallieberries, strawberries, and prepicked produce, school tours
20872 County Road 99, Woodland, CA 95695. Phone: 530-666-7308. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Directions: Interstate 80 east to Highway 113 north, Road 27 exit, turn left go one mile to Road 99, turn right, we are about a mile north. And for a map to our farm, click here. Crops are usually available in
April, May, June, July. Open: Monday-Sunday, 9 am to 7 pm We are certified organic for all crops! Payment: Cash, only.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Corner of East Stowell Road and Highway 101, Santa Maria
Certified Farmers Markets
Wednesdays at Town Center West on the corner of Broadway and Main Street
12:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Tuesdays at Oak Knolls South on the corner of Clark Avenue and Bradley Road
10 am to 1 pm
Tanaka Farms U-Pick Strawberries www.tanakafarms.com
Directions: Exit 405 at University and head West. Make First Left at Strawberry Farms Road. Limited parking at the produce stand and overflow across the street at the fields. 714-968-6588 reservation and information. Tanaka Farms 5380 3/4 University Dr Irvine, Ca 92612
SAN DIEGO COUNTY
Carlsbad Strawberry Company April - June carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com Call 760 603-9608
orner of Cannon Road and Paseo del Norte, just east of Interstate 5 at the Cannon Road exit in Carlsbad. We're located right around the corner from the Carlsbad Flower Fields, the Carlsbad Company Stores, Legoland and Car Country Carlsbad.